Best and Worst Presidents in film

Best and Worst Presidents in film

Never one to shy away from the camera, Uncle Sam often makes a movie cameo, usually in the form of head honcho Mr President. So Filmfellas figured it’s time the Big Man underwent our scrutiny as we compile a list of the ten best/worst portrayals.






Henry Fonda – Failsafe (1964)

Dumped in the middle of impending nuclear war, Fonda has to think fast and make some very tough decisions to prevent world annihilation. Fantastic performance in a fantastic film. Big Hit.

Peter Sellers – Dr Strangelove: Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb (1964)

In keeping with the rest of this excellent satire, Sellers delivers a dry, engaging Presidential performance that contrasts superbly with the absurdity of his other characters. Hit (the Ruskies where it hurts).

Danny Glover – 2012 (2009)

Bumbling his way through a world crises with all the panache of a senile Republican, Glover shows us how NOT to run the country. Makes me long for those Lethal Weapon days…Old Ham.

Anthony Hopkins – Nixon (1995)

Ok, so he may not look as convincing as Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon, but Hopkins manages to depict the Democrat ideal of Satan with his trademark skill. Intimidating Hit.

Kevin Kline – Dave (1993)

Presidential look-alike Kline ends up with the real job after the president slips into a coma. A tepid, unfunny role that promises eye blisters on a re-watch. Boring Ham.

Kevin Kline – Wild Wild West (1999)

Obviously lovin’ the power, Kline is back for more in Barry Sonnenfeld’s appalling Will Smith vehicle. And he stinks with all the rest in this celluloid disaster. Ham (the sequel).

Frank Langella – Frost/Nixon (2008)

A seasoned veteran of the industry, Langella provides a performance that convinces and creepily charms in equal measure. It’s like Nixon ain’t dead…Memorable Hit.

Jack Nicholson – Mars Attacks (1996)

Faced with an overpowering Martian invasion, Nicholson’s main strategy is a series of earnest, impassioned speeches. Sadly, the Martian’s don’t want to ‘get along’. Funny stuff from ol’ Jack. Hilarious Hit.

Michael Douglas – The American President (1995)

Showing the President’s tender side in this mediocre Rom-Com doesn’t feature on Douglas’ career highlights… and for good reason. Instantly forgettable paycheck stuff. Gone-off Ham.

William Hurt – Vantage Point (2008)

Anyone associated with this laboured, mediocre, clumsy thriller bears the sign of a career in jeopardy. And William Hurt is not an exception. Victimised Ham.

List written and compiled by FilmFella Henry @filmfellahenry
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About filmfellahenry
Film reviewer, script writer and occasional painter. Fan of Lumet, Aronofsky and Kubrick, with a good measure of early John Carpenter thrown in. Particularly like post-apocalyptic sci-fi, horror and fantasy film genres.

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